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Kyrie Irving’s Celtics curse is bad news for the Mavericks’ title dreams

One of the biggest storylines in the 2024 NBA Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics involves Kyrie Irving versus his former team. But more than the history between Irving and the Celtics, there’s also the fact that the superstar guard has largely struggled in his recent battles against the Green Team.

Irving played two seasons for the Celtics from 2017 to 2019 after forcing his way out of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Obviously, his stint with the franchise did not go well as they were unable to achieve the postseason success that many expected when he joined the C’s.

The Celtics faithful harbor a clear animosity toward Irving, and the expectation is that it will come to the fore again once the NBA Finals series begins Thursday.

That said, Boston will enter the game full of confidence as they face their former star player alongside his new star running mate in Luka Doncic. After all, Irving himself seemed to be having a hard time facing the Celtics in recent years.

In his last ten games against the Celtics, Irving has yet to win a game. That record dates back to the 2021-2022 season, when Irving and his Brooklyn Nets were defeated by the Beantown Team in the first round of the 2022 playoffs. During that season, Irving also played in only one regular season game against the Jayson Tatum-led squad and lost.

As for the Mavericks, they lost their two games against the Celtics this 2023-24 season, including a 28-point blowout in early March.

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving now led Mavericks as a different team

While it’s certainly not encouraging to see how much Kyrie Irving and the Mavericks struggled against the Celtics, it’s also worth noting that Dallas is now a different team compared to the one that eliminated Boston.

First, despite having the same roster in early March, the Mavericks were still figuring out how to integrate both PJ Washington and Daniel Gafford at the time. They were far from the complete team they envisioned when they were retooled at the trade deadline.

Second, the Mavericks were actually one of the best teams to finish the season, winning 16 of their last 20 games. Clearly that trend continued as they punched their ticket to the NBA Finals despite being the fifth seed in the tough Western Conference.

And speaking of statistics, it should also be recognized that the Mavericks are the first team since the 2010 Los Angeles Lakers to defeat three 50-win teams en route to the Finals. As hoops fans know, the Purple and Gold won the title that year… also against the Celtics.

Furthermore, Luka Doncic has been the best player in the entire 2024 NBA Playoffs so far. He is averaging 28.8 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.8 assists in the postseason. The Slovenian does it all for Dallas, and after being tested throughout the West, he and Irving should be more than ready to take on a more talented Celtics squad.

Of course, it won’t be an easy battle for the Mavericks, but if the Celtics expect their dominance against Irving to continue, they could be in for a big surprise.